Whether you’re young and looking for adventure or retired and needing to get away from everyday life, there’s nothing more exciting and thrilling than hitting the open road and taking in the scenery on an epic road trip. With so many places to travel to, it’s hard to know where to start and which route will offer the richest experiences without hitting too many roadblocks.

Navigating the top end

The Northern Territory is a place full of rich experiences, culture, art, and exquisite landscapes that will take your breath away. There are some easily accessible areas you can drive to which are all accessed via sealed roads. At the same time there are also some roads that aren’t able to be accessed at all during wet seasons. Because of this, it’s best to check weather conditions and road closures from local authorities.

Always adhere to signs and never swim in areas unless it’s safe - keep an eye out for signs or notices of hazardous waters. Remember that long trips mean long roads, where there are no service stations or places to stay if you get tired and need some sleep. Plan your trip accordingly; make sure you have enough petrol, water, and tools on board to help you if you get into some bother. Knowing exactly how far away you are from your next stop will ensure that you’ll have an enjoyable and safe trip.

There are so many options for which roads to take and what sights to see that it can be a little daunting to plan your trip. To help you out, we’ve decided to go through some of our favourite road trips and the best way to take them on. So whether you’re looking for a day trip with your partner or an epic family holiday to last a month, you’ll find a trip in here to suit your needs.

Click on a trip to begin

  • Berry
    Springs

  • Fogg Dam
    Conservation

  • Darwin to
    Litchfield

  • Nature’s
    Way Drive

  • Darwin to
    Alice Springs

  • Darwin to
    Kakadu

  • Broome to
    Darwin

  • Explorer’s
    Highway

Berry Springs Nature Park

Take a trip to Berry Springs Nature Park, just 47 km south of Darwin. There’s plenty to see and do here on a perfect day trip away. Be sure to pack a lunch to eat amongst the nature and serenity of the park.

Attractions:

Having a picnic amongst shady areas with tables and barbeques, and taking a bush hike or swim are the ingredients to a great day out here. Berry Creek has clear and shady pools to swim in and help you cool off. There are also looped walking tracks to take you through monsoon forest and woodlands.

An information centre details the history of the area and offers some practical information and guides. Why not start your day by trekking through some of the rainforest and going off in search of some native wildlife and flora? Follow it up by relaxing by the water with a meal.

Scenery:

If you visit the park during March and April, native plants will be flowering and the grasslands looking their best, making it the perfect time for those wanting to photograph their trip. Bring your goggles with you as you should be able to spot some native fish and aquatic life while swimming. Don’t forget some binoculars if you’d like to spot some birdlife!

Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve

One of the few wetland systems that are open all year round,
take a walk and discover the wildlife and scenery.

Attractions:

The boardwalks that take you along the wetland areas here are laden with observation platforms to help you catch more of the beautiful scenery. There are a number of redside wading birds that will be a great sight for anyone, particularly birdwatchers.

There are also several different walking tracks so you can see even more of the wetlands without getting your feet wet - perfect for when you want to get involved with the landscape without disturbing the scenery (or your shoes). There’s plenty to see here, so be sure to bring a camera.

Scenery:

The Pandanus Lookout walk will provide beautiful views of the dam, perfect for photo opps as well as picnics. The birds that swarm to this area add to the scenery and excitement of being in the natural environment.

Darwin to Litchfield

This simple day trip will have you spending the day viewing some
of the iconic scenic sights Litchfield National Park has to offer.

Attractions:

Litchfield National Park features rugged sandstone escarpments complete with waterfalls and stretches of rainforest. There are several bushwalking tracks to discover and many crystal-clear water holes to swim in afterwards.

If you have access to a 4WD vehicle you may even decide to drive to the Lost City, a formation of rocks that has been formed over time. They’re definitely worth the drive but also definitely need a 4WD to access. You cannot access the Lost City area during the wet season, however, so plan accordingly.

Scenery:

During the months of May to September you have the opportunity to take on a guided tour by the Park Rangers. They’ll provide you with some insightful information and guide you through particular areas of interest throughout the park.

Warnings:

Although there are several walking tracks, some are closed during very hot conditions and during the wet season. If you wish to walk these tracks during these times you may need to first acquire a permit from the Parks and Wildlife Office in Batchelor.

Nature’s Way Drive

This is a scenic drive through Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks. Starting in Darwin,
the trip weaves through great landscapes to bring you back to Darwin once again.

Attractions:

You’ll start by entering the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Here you can explore many scenic waterfalls and hiking tracks. At Pine Creek you can visit the buildings built during the Gold Rush of the 1870s. In Litchfield National Park there are even more stunning water holes to discover and swim in, including the plunge pool at the base of FLorence Falls.

Along the way you can visit the Katherine Hot Springs, or even take a look at some of the world’s oldest Aboriginal rock art galleries in Kakadu.

Rest stops:

Jabiru, Kakadu National Park, Pine Creek, Batchelor, Litchfield National Park, and Darwin.

Scenery:

The national parks are stunning and provide a glimpse of what nature really has to offer in the top end of this sunburnt country. Whether you’re an avid photographer, wildlife enthusiast, or bird watcher, there is something here for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. You even have the opportunity to board cruises along the way to see some of the fauna and flora along the waterways - like crocodiles!

Darwin to Alice Springs

Taking this driving trip to travel to one of the most popular spots in the Northern Territory is not to be missed! There are many stops along the way to get you discovering some more stunning sights. Generally taken as a trip over 7 days, you can choose to make the trip over a longer period if you want to explore some of the stops a bit more.

Attractions:

Your first stop for this trip will be Litchfield National Park where you can stop and take in the beautiful sights and sounds of native flora and fauna. Take a swim in one of the water holes and let your legs have a stretch on one of the hikes.

The trip will also take you past Katherine, where you’ll visit the 180,000 hectare Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park. Katherine Gorge is made up of 13 separate gorges and there’s plenty to see and do in this magnificent place. Visit the Mataranka Hot Springs on your way and soak in the 34 degrees celsius springs.

Be sure to also stop and see the Devil’s Marbles, a site formed over millions of years. Aboriginal heritage can be learned and discovered at Tennant Creek which is full of culture and history, with so many rock art galleries and old buildings to discover.

Rest stops:

Litchfield National Park, Batchelor, Katherine, Mataranka, Daly Waters Pub in Daly Waters, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs.

Scenery:

The scenery is varied along this great route, from rainforest and waterfalls to desert outback settings and sandstone murals. There’s something for everyone, and because you have the opportunity to take in a few different sights along the way, you can take your time with this trip if you are able.

Warnings:

As it’s the Outback, be sure to always have enough petrol for your trips. Keep water on you at all times, and in the event of a breakdown always stay with your car. Don’t drive at night and have a driving companion as the roads here can be long and straight, causing fatigue.

Darwin to Kakadu

Although this trip can be completed in just one day, you can
break up the drive to explore some of the sights along the way.

Attractions:

One of the first stops is near Humpty Doo, where there are numerous mango plantations. When these mangoes are in season, you can imagine the kind of aroma that you’ll encounter!

Be sure to also take a cruise trip on the Adelaide River Crocodile cruise. The jumping crocodile cruise is sure to get your heart racing and provide some great holiday snaps to show everyone when you get back home. Further along the road you’ll also come across the large Termite Mounds.

Rest stops:

Humpty Doo, Fogg Dam, Termite Mounds, Bark Hut Inn, and Caravan Park.

Scenery:

Although not a long trip to begin with, it can still be extended if you wish. Sealed roads allow for an easy trip with many sights and attractions close to the main road, so there is little chance to get lost.

Warnings:

Be sure to check the conditions of the roads before leaving due to the potential flooding during the wet seasons. Always adhere to road conditions and advice.

Broome to Darwin

You’ll be able to discover great parts of both Western Australia and the
Northern Territory on this epic and varied road trip.

Attractions:

This infamous prison boab tree is one of the first sights you’ll see near the town of Derby. You’ll need your swimmers when exploring Manning Gorge as the water will be very enticing. There is also time to hike up to Emma Gorge, which may take up to 45 minutes but once you get there you can enjoy a refreshing swim. Of course your final destination of Darwin will be sure to please.

Rest sops:

Fitzroy Crossing, Charnley River Station, Mt. Elizabeth, Home Valley Station, Emma Gorge, Kununurra, Katherine, and Darwin.

Scenery:

Colours of rocks and the scenery will often change along this route, keeping the trip interesting as you go. If you want an extra good view, consider booking a light aircraft journey at Kununurra. Here you can see a spectacular view of Lake Argyle, which is ten times larger than Sydney harbour. It’s an experience definitely not to be missed!

Explorer’s Highway

Follow the route of pioneer John McDouall Stuart by travelling from South Australia’s
Adelaide and working your way through to Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Attractions:

Start your trip by making a stop at the Barossa Valley in Port Augusta. Visit a few of the 60 cellar doors and enjoy some of the local wines and foods. Continue through to Flinders Ranges National Park and make a stop at Coober Pedy, a mining town where you can experience sights both above and below the ground! You can even stay in an underground hotel to keep you cool in the hot and sweltering weather conditions. Here you can look at ancient fossils, opal mines, and Aboriginal rock art sites.

Onward to Alice Springs and then to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. One of the world’s most magnificent sites, Uluru, can be explored. Take a tour with an Aboriginal guide who will provide you with information about the Dreamtime and stories associated with the inspiring landmark. Stop at the Devil’s Marbles at Tennant Creek on your way through to Daly Waters, Katherine, Litchfield National Park, and then Darwin.

Scenery:

Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Kings Canyon, Tennant Creek, Daly Waters, Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine, Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, and Darwin.

Scenery:

On this road trip you’ll find the sights of the Barossa Valley’s numerous wineries and the outback scenes of deserts and plains. Mixed in are the sights of opal mines and Uluru itself, as well as the quirky Daly Waters Pub, where visitors will often want to leave a part of themselves behind (for a start, there’s a collection of women’s bras hanging near the bar). It’s not just the lush scenery you’ll be experiencing, but also the many locals and other travellers you’ll meet along the way.

Ready to go exploring the unique, rugged landscapes that makes Australia the sunburnt wonder that it is? Make sure you have a relaxing end destination in place; book with Darwin FreeSpirit and enjoy some downtime in our tropical haven after being on the road.

© Darwin FreeSpirit Resort

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